sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tajikistan Exports

Riding Bicycles

Riding a bicycle along the Silk Road along the Pamir Highway at the roof of the world from Dushanbe (Tajikistan) to Osh (Kyrgyzstan) has become a thing to do if you like to cycle. And while Tajikistan (95% Muslim and one of the poorest nations on Earth) is generally full of nice people, the exports are returning.

      Which means that: 

I have no idea how anyone could be so (f-ing) stupid as to voluntarily bicycle across Tajikistan, but they did and earned a set of Darwin Awards. On 29 July, a motorist drove into a group of foreign cyclists riding in Danghara. The encounter was deliberate and killed two US cyclists, one Swiss and one Dutch cyclist. Three others also were injured by the car, which then drove off.

Tajikistan Responds

Two people suspected of involvement in the incident were later killed by authorities in a special operation. According to the interior ministry, another four people were arrested in the same operation and a damaged car believed to have been involved was recovered. Another three suspects were "rendered harmless" after being traced to a village, officials said. You have to hand it to the Soviet-trained Tajiks, they do manage to torture information out of everyone suspected of involvement. Once that information is in their hands, they kill everyone suspected of involvement and their family pets as well and I admire that. The trial is handled on the streets of Daghera. No need to feed prisoners awaiting trial or to involve lawyers when a confession obtained by pulling finger nails out rendered the truth.

ISIS Takes a Bow

The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack on "citizens of the crusader coalition."

The Islamic State’s Amaq Agency posted a report on the killing on 30 July. 
"After placing their trust in God Almighty, a detachment of caliphate soldiers set out toward a gathering of Crusader coalition state citizens in the area of Danghara in Khatlon in Tajikistan, running them over and attacking them with knives. This left four dead and four wounded, praise and thanks be to God! We gladly announce to the Crusader coalition state citizenry what shall befall them, for what shall come will be more destructive and bitter, God willing!”
The mention of knives strengthens the credibility of the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility. Most reports omitted that information that the deceased also had been knifed.

The nation's primary income earners are cotton and mineral ores. One of its less attractive exports has been Tajik recruits for the Islamic State in Iraq and in Syria. One concern is that Tajik fighters might now be returning from the Middle East to establish a presence in Tajikistan.

North Korea Update

The second session of North Korean-South Korean military talks is taking place at Panmunjom. North Korea did not roll over and play dead at the Summit at Singapore this summer. A negotiation is underway. That's what the take away from ongoing talks is. Negotiation.

Fox News and several US newspapers published information from “spy agencies” and from commercial satellites about continuing activity at North Korea’s Sanumdong ballistic missile manufacturing complex near Pyongyang. The news outlets reported that there is activity going on at the facility.

Imagery detected new construction. It also detected trucks at the facility. One analyst of commercial imagery judged that the facility is active. 

Sanumdong facility has been assembling missiles for decades and continues to do so, most likely including North Korea’s new liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles. One of the imaged vehicles could carry a large missile airframe.

The imagery confirms that North Korean weapons factories continue business as usual. 

If satellites image a vehicle at a sensitive complex, such as Sanumdong, it means North Korea wants it to be imaged, for its purposes. In the past, Sanumdong is where North Korea has brought potential customers, including Iranians, to showcase newly made missiles and support equipment. At times, it has hung huge tarps to deny imagery of whatever was in the display area. 

Chairman Kim has not agreed to disarm or to stop making and selling North Korean military equipment. The imagery of Sanumdong conveys that message, just as the commercial imagery of the dismantling of the Sohae rocket engine test site conveys a different message. The press reports help ensure that Chairman Kim’s message gets wide dissemination.

In dealing with North Korea, deception is presumed. The North Koreans are practiced masters of showing the false, hiding the real and reinforcing mistaken perceptions and judgments. They consider deception a force multiplier, not just a national strategic security program. All branches of deception are always at work all the time, especially when its leaders are behaving well.

Over the years, satellites and other sources of imagery occasionally have detected military surprises in North Korea. Most often, the important challenge is to determine why North Korea would want a target or set of targets to be seen by the US. 

In this case, the imagery of continuity in missile production makes the imagery of dismantling at the engine test stand more vivid and, arguably, more persuasive. At this point, North Korea has agreed to suspend testing and to dismantle two sites. 

Imagery confirms the dismantlings and that everything else continues as before.

Assessing the Modern

From Harper's Weekly:

Illiberal Values  by Walter Kirn
"Puritanism," Mencken said, is 'the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.' But liberal puritanism is slightly different. It fears that the wrong sort of people might be happy, or that their happiness might be of the wrong kind."
"I see evidence that certain liberal principles, the ones that impressed me in the Seventies, have eroded. Back then, for example, the CIA was understood to be a nest of liars and psychopaths who toppled democratically chosen leaders, lied to the public to start wars, and ran sick experiments on innocents using drugs and mind-control techniques. In Three Days of the Condor, a thriller from the period, Robert Redford plays a lowly CIA officer who discovers that the agency is nothing more than a crime ring. These days, however, with Trump playing the heavy, the CIA is revered by many liberals as a bulwark of integrity, its missions sacred, its conclusions unimpeachable, and its former director, John Brennan, worthy of a high-profile cable news job. The FBI draws similar adulation, never mind its history of spying on the likes of Ernest Hemingway, John Lennon, and Martin Luther King Jr. 
"This great liberal switch from skepticism to sanctimony about the most powerful arms of the Establishment is matched by a viral fear of Russia that reminds me of the John Birch Society pamphlets I’d come across now and then when I was young. Somehow, instinct told me then that they were crazy, exaggerating the cunning of the enemy, the depravity of the collaborators, and the vulnerability of America. The liberal comedians who lampooned such claims on shows such as Laugh-In were my idols. They dared to speak the most radical truth of all in a time of panic and paranoia."

The nation showed that things were changing at a tectonic level when President Trump was elected. He smashed Hillary Clinton in the electoral college, shaming the polling companies who are supposed to predict wins and losses before they occur. 

Today there is the "daily hate" on the elite, corrupt, filthy, sly, lying mainstream media. Billions are spent to try and damage President Trump, and still his approval numbers improve. Progressives are bewildered. They predict that the Democrats will take back the House of Representatives in November. Look at the map and take note that President Trump is more popular now than when he was elected. It's Donald Trump and not the Republican Party that people tended to vote for. They hate the swamp, they hate the faceless, heartless bureaucracy and they wanted hope and change. They wanted to see an end to the old political way of doing things.


Lee Ho Fook (London)

LSP mentioned this restaurant (right) on his blog that deals with fishing, pastoral life, and progressive space aliens among us. I recommend the food at Lee Ho Fook, particularly the beef chow mien. There was no unicorn on the menu last time that I was there... Try not to go in the later evening. A little old lady was mutilated down the street...werewolves of London again.


President Trump offered to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani personally and without conditions to avert a war. It seems that they've been building a nuclear weapon. Don't be shocked. The Saudis and the Jews are the targets and they are very uneasy. Follow these events in Iran very closely.